From the Pen of the Principal
Dear Parents and Caregivers
At the start of this week we welcomed all students back on campus and things are starting to look a little more normal than they have over these past few weeks. Like all staff, I have really missed the young women and men of the College and celebrate reuniting as a Xavier Family again.
Things will not be quite as normal just yet. We still will not be having assemblies or Year Level Meetings apart from virtual ones, most sports will still be a no go zone, we have to ensure our personal hygiene is first rate and we have to remember to keep our distance. These are small inconveniences when you see what has been happening around the world.
However, the sense of getting back to the normal course of business is so much better than having a community separated as a result of COVID-19.
National Reconciliation Week
This week we celebrate National Reconciliation Week. It is such an important time for our nation as we remember the past, acknowledge the present and look with hope to the future. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have the oldest continuous cultures in the world. As our first nation people they have faced over 200 years of some pretty shabby treatment and yet their cultures remain a powerful reminder of their strength and resilience as a people whose relationship to the land and sea contains much wisdom that can benefit all from a deeper understanding.
As a nation, acknowledging the hurt that has been inflicted upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is an uncomfortable, but important first step. There is no glossing over it. As the first Europeans arrived to settle a new colony and through subsequent generations, a lot of horrific things occurred including massacres and forced encampments that took Aboriginal peoples away from their land.
Sadly, the reality is that this is not ancient history. Forced separations of children from their families, which led to the stolen generation, is part of our living memory. Likewise, the ongoing discrimination, much of which is subconscious, stills occurs today.
Reconciliation Week is built around the anniversary of three key dates: National Sorry Day which was first held in 1998; the referendum of 1967; and the Mabo Decision of 1992.
The first Sorry Day was held on 26th May 1998; exactly one year after the Bringing Them Home Report was presented to the Federal Parliament. Of course, this finally led to the apology on 13th February 2008 when then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, for the policies which, in the Prime Minister’s words ‘inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these, our fellow Australians.'
May 27th marked the anniversary of Australia’s most successful referendum and a defining event in our nation’s history. The 1967 referendum saw over 90 per cent of Australians vote to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recognise them in the national census. Until that time States had varying laws which in Queensland’s case restricted the right to own land, allowed for pay discrimination, restricted their voting rights and did not include them in the Census.
June 3rd was the anniversary of one of Australia’s most important legal rulings. In 1992 the High Court of Australia delivered its landmark Mabo decision which legally recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a special relationship to the land that existed prior to colonisation and still exists today. This recognition paved the way for land rights called Native Title.
As a nation there has been much progress in the cause of Reconciliation, but there is so much still to do. As an inclusive community that has embraced our call to continue to work towards Reconciliation, Xavier Catholic College is proud of its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Our diversity is a source of strength and a sign of hope for the future.
As a community that celebrates the diversity of our students as a source of our great strength, Reconciliation Week is a time to remember the rich heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and celebrate the contribution they have made to Australian society and culture. But, it is also a time to acknowledge the past and seek healing.
The word, “reconciliation” means to make things right and to repair relationships. In effect, we use this word to indicate that we sit down together as equals. Our indigenous people have not always been treated as equals in Australian society and wrongs have been done. During Reconciliation Week we remember the past, we celebrate the present and dream our future together.
My own personal history has taught me a great deal, but also shown me how much I do not know. At my two previous schools we had many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. I have fond memories of fostering these young people to be proud to express their culture, be it through dance, or music or art. As an example, the picture on the wall in my office was a gift from a young Aboriginal Boarder at Rostrevor – Adrian Namatjira – the grandson of the great artist Albert Namatjira. I also learnt much through coaching a predominantly Aboriginal Rugby 7’s Team to winning back to back State Championships and taking them to the National Championships.
There are two key observations I take away from these experiences. The first is that understanding and friendship will eventually make you colour blind. It does not diminish a person’s culture, but it enables you to see the world in a small imperfect way through their eyes because of the relationship that is formed.
The second thing that I learned is ‘there is no such thing as a dumb question when you ask it sincerely.’ I remember once giving my staff a challenge. I read out the names of five kids from cattle properties. Staff could tell me the name of their Station and what kind of cattle they reared. I then read out the names of five Aboriginal students and asked what ‘mob’ each of them were from. No one could answer. In diving deeper, it became apparent that it was not that the staff did not care. It was the fear that they would cause offense. My challenge then as it is today is to bravely ask the question. If it is a dumb question, they will laugh and explain, but won’t be offended.
The other challenge is to acknowledge what is not so good today and to be part of the solution. The Closing the Gap Report conducted each year shows the disparity of outcomes in health, education and life-expectancy among other things. Progress is slow and more voices advocating for change can make a difference. For our Torres Strait Islander people, they face the threat of rising sea levels, collapsing retainer walls and possibly becoming climate refugees within their own nation. Whether it is the Islands of Moa, Sabai, Duan or Badu, they face something that requires the collective action of a nation.
So, come on and lend your voice. Let’s make the difference. Because we are all Australians and we stand as one in seeking justice for all.
So, it with humility and gratitude that I acknowledge the great contribution made by all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to our Great Southern Land. I acknowledge the Butchulla people as the traditional custodian of this land and pay my respects to their elders – past, present and emerging.
From the Head of School – Primary: Mr Russell Davey
Enrolments Prep 2021
Despite the impact of COVID-19 the 2020 year moves on and we are fast moving into our peak enrolment period. I would advise any of our current parents to proceed with their online enrolment if they have a student intending to enter our 2021 Prep cohort. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss with you any questions you may have regarding Prep in 2021 and would also advise that parents can contact the College at any time should they require support with their application.
From the Head of School – Secondary: Ms Tameika Grist
As mentioned in my email to parents earlier this week, it certainly is a pleasure to be starting to operate as an on-campus school again. Thank you for all the work you have been putting in behind the scenes. We know that this time has been challenging for so many reasons for every person and family. I would like to reiterate, if you have any concerns about how your son or daughter is readjusting to school life, please don't hesitate to get in contact. We also encourage families to continue to be connected to the learning and expectations for learning for their children; we value the relationship with have with parents in educating young people, and know that when parents are closely involved in their children's education, it results in better outcomes for students.
At the start of the school year, we emailed all parents about the Uniform, Hair & Jewellery Expectations that we have at the College. I am sending this email today to bring up some issues that have been identified regarding hairstyles and wearing of jewellery that do not adhere to these guidelines. Given that we are now the first week for some students, this will mean that students will have until the end of the week (& weekend) to allow time and opportunity to ensure that they are adhering to our guidelines.
I'm particularly referring to:
For boys: students who have to place their hair behind their ears to keep it off their face, students with teased out or untidy hair and students with extremes in hair styles and/or cuts (including but not limited to undercuts).
For girls: collar length hair should be tied back and kept off the face in keeping with school colours. Hair should be of one, consistent colour. Also for our girls that we wear 1 pair of plain, small studs or sleepers in the ear lobe - no other visible piercing/s.
Haircuts and styles: We are committed to ensuring that all school guidelines are followed and applied consistently throughout our College. I have asked our Pastoral staff (House Deans & Pastoral Care Teachers) to discuss these issues with identified students and ask them to have any issues rectified. Students who fail to meet these expectations from next week may be withdrawn from their lunch breaks to begin with and if we cannot resolve the issue, than it will need to be escalated.
Jewellery: Students are also reminded of the College regulations regarding jewellery which may be found in the Parent Handbook and Student Diary. With regards to jewellery there is to be only 1 pair of plain, small studs or sleepers in the ear lobe - no other visible piercing/s. Students will be asked to remove the ear rings and place these into a sealed plastic bag, whereby they can be collected at the end of the day. Similar to haircuts and styles, those students who are failing to meet these expectations (more than one occasion) may be withdrawn from their lunch breaks to begin with and if we cannot resolve the issue, than it will need to be escalated.
Should you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact either myself or your House Dean (depending on your House) to seek further clarification.
Will you take a quick minute to leave us a review?
It is incredibly heartening to have some of our students and families returning to our Xavier campus. We would firstly like to personally thank you for assisting our teachers in recent months to deliver content and maintain or high education standards. Without you, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve such highly successful outcomes for our students. Another clear positive to come from the experience, and one that we hope to build upon further, are the strong relationships and bonds that have been fostered between teachers at school and you at home. We greatly value and acknowledge the impact you have on learning and would like you to always feel welcome in our classrooms, to witness the growth your child makes, whether they are in Prep, Middle-School or their Senior years of schooling. We trust that if you are ever uncertain about an aspect of your child’s learning that you reach out to us through Pastoral Care, Teachers, House Deans or Heads of School.
The second reason I write to you is to ask for a favour. The way you speak about us with your friends, family and in the wider community caries great weight and lifts us up even higher as a community. Our staff thrive from the positive feedback you give verbally on a day to day basis. Online reviews from our Xavier family can also help others feel confident about choosing, Xavier, and will really help us to grow our school. Could you please take 60 seconds to leave us a review on either our Facebook or Google+. The direct links are below. We would really appreciate it and thank you in advance for helping us out.
Google + Business Account for Review
We are also seeking parents, alumni and students to feature as testimonials on our college website. If you are willing to make validate us in this way please make contact with our Matthew Ninnes email@example.com who manages our college promotions.
Download the BCE Connect App today
BCE Connect provides a platform to securely access school information, making it easier to keep track of all things school related.
All Brisbane Catholic Education schools are available in BCE Connect and the app integrates with the school’s Parent Portal. The app is Free from Google play or App Store.
Log in to BCE Connect using your Parent Portal login credentials and “favourite” your chosen schools to receive notifications direct from the school (including emergency announcements – such as school closures).
What is new?
A great way to notify the school of a student absence.
Click on My Details to update your address or contact details.
Click on School Shops to find information about the Tuckshop, Uniform Shop or Stationery Lists.
Click on School Payments to make a School Fee payment. You will require your BPAY Customer Reference Number from your Family Statement.
Click on School TV – a new online resource designed to empower parents with credible and sound information with realistic, practical ongoing support strategies.
Emerging Minds on Supporting Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic
This selection of resources will assist parents and caregivers in supporting their children’s mental health through the COVID-19 pandemic. They are designed to help parents to talk with their children about what they are seeing and hearing, develop new routines, and focus on the strategies that their family already uses to get through tough times. Visit our website to find out more: www.emergingminds.com.au
Fact sheets (5 min read)
Communicating with your child about COVID-19
Many parents and carers may be wondering how to talk with their child or children about COVID-19 and what information to share. This resource is designed to help you to prepare for these conversations.
Traumatic events, the media and your child
With COVID-19 updates currently on our screens, radios and newspapers, parents and carers might be wondering how best to support their children and reduce worry and distress. This factsheet focuses on tips to manage children’s exposure to media coverage.
Podcast (30 min listen)
Children’s mental health during COVID-19
How might children’s social and emotional wellbeing be affected by the changes brought about in response to the COVID-19 pandemic? In this episode, Brad Morgan, Director of Emerging Minds, discusses some challenges that might be coming up for families at this time as they navigate spending more time at home together
Videos (3 minute watch)
Video: Managing routines for children during the COVID-19 pandemic
Children need routine and structure as much as they need free time and play. As families are spending more time at home together, this short video introduces ways for parents and carers to manage routines for their children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Video: Talking to children about the COVID-19 pandemic
This short video introduces ways for parents and carers to talk to their children about the COVID-19 pandemic, starting with taking
Dirum Mission Week
Next week we are looking forward to celebrating Dirum Mission Week. It will look quite different to previous years; in that we will not be asking for any donations. Instead we will be promoting student wellbeing and raising awareness for social justice issues. Start getting excited about some great fun now we are all back together!
It’s about MORE THAN MONEY.
Jesuit Social Services
Jesuit Social Services works to build a just society where all people can live to their full potential. They work for: Justice and crime prevention for people involved with the criminal justice system; Mental health and wellbeing for people with multiple and complex needs and those affected by trauma, suicide, and complex bereavement; Settlement and community building for people recently arrived in Australia, asylum seekers, displaced people and disadvantaged communities; Education, training and employment for people with barriers to sustainable employment.
Jesuit Social services work with those most in need, the broader communities in which we live and the decisions makers, service providers and institutions that affect us.
No amount is too small to make a positive difference to the lives of disadvantaged people. Your one-off, tax deductible donation will help us work in some of the most difficult and demanding areas in our community.
“If you seek peace work for justice” https://jss.org.au/get-involved/donate/
Hooray it’s Under 8s Week!
This is a time for us to celebrate Early Childhood, and the wonder of these early years. Did you know that 85% of a child’s intelligence is formed in the first 5 years of life? The more rich language the children hear, the more books they are read, the more play they enjoy, the better they will learn! This year the theme is “Play, Playfulness – Engaged Learners”, and we will celebrate in a different way this year with some fun, games and reading later in the week!
Maths Pathway – Year 7 & 8 Growth Gurus
Each fortnight we will be recognising the students who have mastered six or more new mathematical concepts for the cycle. These students have achieved rocket status for their growth rate.
Tania Rose Collins
Arts Lessons with Mrs Jensen
Year 5 have been having a lot of fun exploring the world of Graffiti, Street Art and Graffiti Art. Here are some AMAZING examples from Ruby Miranda, Finnian McDonald, Maximus Bowman, and Lulu Wilson.
Australian Mathematics Competition
The Australian Mathematic Competition will be held at the College in Term 3 on Thursday 30th July 2020 during lesson 1 and 2 for students from year 3-12. As Covid-19 has added an extra strain on families this year the College would like to cover the cost of the competition paper for this year. A letter will be given to students this week who have shown interest in participating in the competition. If your child has missed out on a letter and wishes to participate in the competition, they can collect one from student reception.
A Parent Slip will be emailed home for you to provide permission for your child to sit the competition.
If you have any queries please email: Year 3-6 firstname.lastname@example.org
Year 7-12 email@example.com
Friday Sport is re-starting this Friday for all Year 7 and 8 students. For the next 5 weeks, students will be participating in on-site athletics rotations. Whilst it is still an unknown as to whether an Interhouse Athletics Carnival and subsequent rep pathways will go ahead this year, students in Year 7 and 8 will benefit from these rotations which will compliment their HPE practical units. Please note that both Javelin and Discus are now considered high risk events and in accordance with risk assessment guidelines and practices, these rotations will only be supervised by staff with a Level 2 Athletics Coaching accreditation. In addition, consideration of oval space, integrity of equipment and drills and skills practiced have been considered in planning for these rotations. If you have any concerns with your child participating in these activities, please email Mr Nathan Milne on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further.